November 6, 2008
It’s not a new idea, but it’s a fairly important one. Adapting pre-existing biological processes to make the things that we want, be they nano-scale batteries, solar cells or neural nets, may herald the next wave of miniaturization and open up new possibilities for large-scale manufacturing of the seemingly miraculous.
Belcher and two MIT colleagues, chemical engineering professor Paula Hammond and ceramics professor Yet-Ming Chiang, are coaxing viruses to assemble micro-batteries which are the size of a human cell. They could one day be used to power tiny devices like sensors or medical diagnostic tools.